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Mardi Gras balcony in the French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana by T. E. Smith-Lamothe

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
T. E. Smith-Lamothe T. E. Smith-Lamothe
Explore score
Print Pricing
$4.00 to $753.00
0.05 Gigapixels
Date added
Feb 24, 2013
Date taken
Feb 08, 2013

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, is famous for the annual street party known as Mardi Gras (french for "Fat Tuesday"). This takes place on the day before Ash Wednesday which is the beginning of the religious period of Lent, a traditional time of repentance and contrition among Roman Catholics. Since New Orleans was founded by French and then Spanish Catholics in the 18th century, Mardi Gras became a celebration of all things decadent and uninhibited on the day and night before Lent put a damper on celebrations of any kind. Since the duration of Lent is tied to the movable feast of Easter, the annual dates of Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday vary --- this year Mardi Gras was quite early, on February 12, 2013.
Costumed Krewes (social clubs) sponsor parades throughout the Mardi Gras season---which generally starts around a month before culminating on the big day. The parades feature elaborate floats and the riders on them throw trinkets to the cheering crowds which line the parade route. Swag thrown is mainly colourful beads, but can include stuffed animals, plastic drinking cups, candy and basically anything you might find in a dollar-or-less store.
The Mardi Gras colours are green, purple and gold. No one really knows why, but one story says these colours clash the most and are, therefore, in keeping with the ambiance of outrageous behavior.
There are two Mardi Gras crowds. One, as the parades pass through long stretches of residential neighborhoods, especially the Garden District along St. Charles Avenue (famous for its streetcar line), the atmosphere is family-oriented and outlandish behavior and public drunkeness are not tolerated by the police. The other, boisterous Mardi Gras goes on in the French Quarter and features bizarre costumes and an atmosphere where the ancient gods Bacchus and Dionysius would feel right at home.
This hand-held vertical panorama shows how people decorate balconies in the French Quarter during the festival.

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